Friday, February 20, 2009

Black Forest Pot Roast

Red meat is not something that Terry and I eat regularly. I have gone on and on about our chicken consumption, it is my protein of choice, but every now and then a good pot roast is in order. My Mom never made pot roast. I am not sure why, I think she may have eaten it too often as a child. I think I am so drawn to making this dish because it was something that as a kid I never had. Through much trial and error I have finally found a pot roast recipe that I love, and this will be my go-to recipe from now on. Mike (Hammster), a Cooking Light BB member who I have grown to trust and admire, had raved about Mabel Hoffman's Black Forest Pot Roast on several occasions, so I had to give it a try. Mike has never steered me in the wrong direction, and he certainly delivered with this great meal.

Black Forest Pot Roast
Mabel Hoffman
Crockery Cookery

1 3 - 31/2lb boneless beef chuck or round bone roast
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup water
4 dried shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, crumbled and rinsed. (If using fresh mushrooms, slice or dice them as you prefer.)
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup dry red wine
2 tbsp dijon style mustard
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp water
Potatoes, carrots, other stew veggies cut into bite size pieces.

Trim all visible fat from meat, place in slow cooker. (I altered the recipe by searing the meat in a skillet before adding it to the slow cooker, as Hammster suggested.) In a small bowl combine onion, water, mushrooms, ketchup, wine, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic. Pour over meat. Add other veggies and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours. Remove meat and veggies. Keep warm. Dissolve cornstarch in water, stir into cooker. Cover and cook on high for 15 - 20 minutes or until thickened. Serve sauce with stew.

Ingredients for Black Forest Pot Roast.

Warm some oil in a skillet (I prefer to use my cast iron skillet.)

Salt and pepper both sides of the beef, add the beef to the skillet.

Sear the meat for two to three minutes per side, this will deepen the final flavor.

Add the beef to your slow cooker.

Combine the onion, water, mushroom, ketchup, wine, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and garlic.

Stir to combine.

Pour mixture over meat.

Add other vegetables.

Stir to combine.

This is where I placed my slow cooker into the fridge overnight so that I could cook it the next day.

Place insert into slow cooker and set to low.

Cook on low for 8 hours.

The meat and vegetables will be cooked through and ready to eat after the 8 hours.

Remove meat and veggies from the slow cooker.

Keep the meat and vegetables warm, I placed mine into a 200 degree oven.

Place water and cornstarch into a small bowl.

Stir to dissolve the cornstarch into the water.

Pour the cornstarch mixture into the remaining juices in the slow cooker, stir to combine.

Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for 15-20 minutes.

Mabel Hoffman's Black Forest Pot Roast is a true winner. The beef is tender, literally falling apart when sliced. The flavor combination is amazing, I have to admit I was slightly reluctant when I saw that there was ketchup in the mix, but all of these ingredients slow cook to perfection. Searing the beef before slow cooking in my opinion adds flavor, I sear all red meat before slow cooking. Instead of using the dried shiitake mushrooms I used fresh button mushrooms because I had them on hand. I am anxious to try this again with the shiitake mushrooms, I expect that they would lend an even deeper flavor to the dish. I added lots of carrots and onions on top of the beef, I love how the flavors intensify through the slow cooking process. Instead of adding potatoes in with the rest of the ingredients, I made garlic mashed potatoes to serve along side. This dinner was one of the best that we have had in a while, I am so happy that my quest for the perfect pot roast recipe is finally over. Black Forrest Pot Roast has made it into our regular roation, and I think once you try it, it will be in yours as well.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Chocolate Malted Cookies

I have lost track of how many times I have made Cooking Light's Chocolate Malted Cookies. They are AMAZING, absolutely my favorite cookie of all time. These cookies are brought to holiday parties, sporting events, and friend and family gatherings. My students who are also my TA's (teaching assistants who receive credits for helping teachers) always look forward to their birthday present from me, because it is always a bag of Chocolate Malted Cookies!! This post is dedicated to my friend Danica who fell in love with these cookies at Erik and Shelly's Superbowl party, here you go Danica!

Chocolate Malted Cookies

1 cup packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons malted milk powder (such as Carnation)
5 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons chocolate syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate minichips

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk. Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture, beating at low speed until well blended. Stir in the milk chocolate chips and semisweet chocolate minichips.

Drop dough by heaping teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Cool on pans 2 minutes or until firm. Remove cookies from pans; cool on wire racks.

2 1/2 dozen cookies (serving size: 1 cookie)

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 125(28% from fat); FAT 3.9g (sat 2g,mono 1.5g,poly 0.2g); PROTEIN 1.9g; CHOLESTEROL 14mg; CALCIUM 28mg; SODIUM 124mg; FIBER 0.5g; IRON 0.7mg; CARBOHYDRATE 20.8g

Ingredients for first mix.

Instead of just softening the butter I melt it in a coffee cup in the microwave for about 40 seconds.

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Beat with a mixer (stand or hand) for two minutes on medium speed or until light and fluffy.

Dry ingredients to be added to the chocolate malt mixture.

Whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda.

Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture.

Beat at low speed until well blended.

The mixture should be very thick.

Measure out about a cup of chocolate chips.

Pour the chocolate chips on top of the cookie batter.

Mix the chocolate chips into the batter.

Cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper, the recipe does not call for this, but it will greatly help in keeping the cookies shape during their removal from the pan.

Drop dough by heaping teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets.

Bake at 350° for 10 minutes, in my oven it takes 13 minutes.

Remove the cookies from the oven and let them rest on the pan for a few minutes before moving.

If making a double batch, transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.

I don't deviate much from the Chocolate Malted Cookies recipe because Cooking Light has really nailed it for me. I do bake them on parchment paper to keep them from sticking to the pan, and also bake them for three minutes longer than the recipes suggests, but my oven runs a bit cool. These cookies are soft and chewy on the inside with a more firm texture around the edges. The chocolate on chocolate base is not overwhelming, and these are excellent with a glass of cold milk. Chocolate malt gives these cookies a flavor that many can't place, which makes them even more interesting. CL's Chocolate Malted Cookies have been made in our house countless times, this is a recipe that we will use forever. My TA's enjoy these cookies so much that I thought I would let you all see just how much they love them!


Laura and Doreen!

Grant and Courtney!


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Heather's Enchiladas

When I moved to The City of Orange during the summer of 2003, Terry and I almost always went to Margarita Mondays at Acapulco's Restaurant. I didn't have to look at a menu, and our waiter who has become our friend never had to ask. I ALWAYS ordered their shrimp enchiladas. I have tried many enchilada recipes over the past few years. Considering all of these recipes, and with the Acapulco's enchiladas in the back of my mind, I have developed this recipe. Heather's Enchiladas are light, fresh and very versatile. You can play with the ingredients, adding more of what you like, and any protein will work well with this vegetable combination. When making these last night I used pan seared shrimp for me and baked Mexican spiced chicken for Terry.

Heather's Enchiladas

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen thawed or fresh corn
1 large tomato, or two Roma tomatoes seeded and diced
3/4 cup sliced green onions
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 standard sized jar prepared tomatillo salsa, divided
10 flour or corn tortillas (6 inch)
1 cup crumbled queso anejo, or farmer cheese
1 pound of cooked protein (shrimp, beef, chicken)

Preheat broiler.

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine beans, corn, tomato, green onions, cumin and 1/2 cup salsa. Microwave until heated through, about two minutes.

Spray a large baking dish with cooking spray.

Spoon about 1/3 cup hot bean mixture down the center of a tortilla, then add the protein of your choice.

Roll up and place seam side down in prepared pan. Repeat until all the filling is used.

Pour the remaining salsa evenly over the enchiladas.

Top with cheese.

Broil 5 to 6 inches from the heat until heated through and the cheese melts, 5 to 6 minutes.

Place the black beans, corn, tomato, green onions, cumin and 1/2 cup of the tomatillo salsa in a microwave safe bowl.

Mix ingredients together. Microwave until heated through.

Spray a large baking pan with cooking spray.

Spoon about 1/3 cup of the black bean mixture into a tortilla.

Place the protein of your choice on top of the black bean mixture.

Continue filling tortillas until the black bean mixture and your protein are gone.

Place the filled tortillas seam side down.

Fill the baking pan completely.

Pour the remaining salsa over the filled tortillas.

Sprinkle over the top with the cheese.

Place the pan in the oven 5/6 inches away from the broiler and broil for 5-6 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden.

Remove the enchiladas from the oven and serve.

I literally cannot wait until lunch today to eat my leftover Heather's Enchiladas. These turned out really well as always, it is such a simple recipe that the results are good every time. I love the shrimp added in, but Terry wanted to stick with the Mexican spiced chicken, as that is the way that I usually prepare it. This is one of the reasons I love this recipe so much, things can be substituted, changed, left out, etc, there is so much room for experimentation. I served this with some leftover Mexican Rice which I had in the freezer, the last time I made the rice I doubled the recipe. Heather's Enchiladas will be a family favorite, I highly recommend giving them a try, adding what you like, and making them yours.